Tallinn Music Week 2022 draws 17,425 visitors to the Estonian capital Tallinn and the border city Narva

12 May 2022 ConferenceMusic Festival

Photo: Anna Markova

The 14th edition of the international new music and city festival Tallinn Music Week (TMW) took place last week,  4th – 8th May,  in both the Estonian capital Tallinn and the border city Narva. A unique cross-country experience celebrated collaboration and solidarity and Tallinn’s first year as a UNESCO City of Music.

TMW 2022 hosted 192 artists from 28 countries and 974 music and culture industry professionals from all over the world. The event drew a total of 17,425 visits: 10,735 in Tallinn and 6 904 in Narva.

The next edition of TMW is scheduled to take place on 10th – 14th May 2023. TMW 2023 passes are now on sale at the TMW webshop. Until the end of May, the Festival Pass and the PRO Pass are available at Early Bird prices of 35 euros and 100 euros respectively. TMW 2023 artist applications open via TMW homepage on Monday, 16th May.

A free concert by Ukrainian pop star Ivan Dorn opened the music festival in Tallinn at Telliskivi Creative City Square on Thursday, 5th May.

“Let us dance, in defiance of the enemy. We need to rejoice a little,” said Dorn in an interview to Estonian Public Broadcasting TV news. “They expect us to sink into our anxiety, sadness, and grief, but we won’t give in.”

In addition to Ivan Dorn, whose gig was attended by nearly 3,000 people, Ukrainian artists alyona alyona, FO SHO, Gentle Ropes and Krapka;KOMA performed at the music festival. The latter three were also granted free sound residency and accommodation in Tallinn. 

Ivan Dorn. Photo: Jelena Rudi

“We felt that Tallinn Music Week was much needed this year,” comments Helen Sildna, Founder and Head of TMW. “The desire for optimism, the desire for spending time together – dancing, talking, celebrating – was felt strongly, both by the Ukrainian community, present at our festival events, and our own people in Tallinn and Narva, as well as the international music community. The strongest manifestation of “togetherness” was felt at the Russian Orthodox Church in Narva, at the “Give Us Peace” concert of Arvo Pärt’s music performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tõnu Kaljuste. Standing there, at the border of the EU, together with people from around the world, as well as the local community, made us feel as if for a second the gravitation point of the world was right there, in our joint call for peace. Music can shake us off from indifference and division and help us move forward together. We felt unity. I thank everyone who joined in and supported this venture.”

A total of 192 artists from 28 countries performed at the TMW 2022 music festival. Some of the highlights of the festival in Tallinn on 5th – 6th May included a collaboration of Swedish composer Maria W Horn and the Tallinn University of Technology Academic Female Choir in St. Catherine’s Church, Naapurivisa Night at D3 Club that reunited the legendary Estonian and Finnish indie bands Röövel Ööbik and 22-Pistepirkko, a showcase of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 and production house Ö Studio in Uus Laine club, and the PopSpot Stage at Vaba Lava Tallinn that featured Estonia’s biggest popstars nublu and WATEVA with the hottest acts from the South African Republic. International collaborations included a Made in Canada showcase and a night of experimental music curated by the Latvian festival Skaņu Mežs.

The music programme in Narva started on 7th May in the Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral with the concert programme of Arvo Pärt’s compositions “Da pacem Domine”, performed by The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste. Acclaimed British artists Floating Points and Tirzah were the headliners on the festival’s main stage in Kreenholm. Vaba Lava Narva stage featured popular Estonian artists, including rapper gameboy tetris and folk acts Mari Kalkun and Trad.Attack!. Live recording of the “Themes For Great Cities: Tallinn” from TMW 2021 was released as a vinyl LP for the festival and the project’s collaborators Erki Pärnoja, Jonas Kaarnamets, Jonas Bjerre and Alex Maiolo performed its follow-up “Themes For Great Cities: from Tallinn to Narva” in Narva Art Residency. TMW 2022 music programme ended in the riverside Art Club Ro-Ro with an afterparty hosted by Ida Viru County’s festival Mägede Hääl.

Floating Points. Photo: Patrik Tamm

The TMW conference started with opening speeches by the Estonian Minister of Culture Tiit Terik, and the Founder of TMW Helen Sildna at the Nordic Hotel Forum in Tallinn on Friday, 6th May, and continued at the OBJEKT multimedia centre in Narva on Saturday, 7th May. 

The conference was attended by 974 music and culture professionals from around the world. Among the notable speakers were Founder and Owner of Bella Union Simon Raymonde, Britpop instigator Jane Savidge, Managing Director of Iceland Music Export Sigtryggur Baldursson, Head of Mute Song David McGinnis, Hollywood composer Johnny Klimek and Ukrainian rapper alyona alyona. Representatives of the UNESCO music cities of Tallinn, Norrköping, Katowice and Veszprém discussed the role of culture and music in the refugee crisis. 

Opening panel. Photo: Aron Urb

TMW PRO and DigiPRO clients can watch the conference panel recordings via TMW PRO digiplatform until the TMW 2023 festival.

Welcome addresses by the President of the Republic of Estonia Alar Karis and the Mayor of Narva Katri Raik opened the TMW Narva programme in front of Vaba Lava Narva on Saturday, 7th May. 

In his speech, President Karis said that music cannot be silenced by cannons. He expressed hope that TMW would unite people and bring out the best in them. “Musicians and event promoters around the world have organised countless fundraising concerts in support of Ukraine. In addition to the millions donated at these events, they have drawn the attention of millions, tens of millions of people to this brutal war, and have brought the world together to stand up against evil,” said the President. He added: “May art and culture help us be better, more empathetic and compassionate.” Read the full speech 

The TMW city programme in Tallinn featured free public discussions on the power and possibilities of culture, the kids’ mini-festival in VIVISTOP Telliskivi and the Tallinn Thursday gallery night hosted by the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center.

Narva’s urban space was discovered through free City Stage gigs on the river promenade, the opening of the graffiti “Different but Together” and sound and light installations “On the Border” and “Border Light” in Kreenholm, all raising questions and seeking answers about identity and space. There were public discussions and emotional intelligence workshop by the local initiative BAZAR, tours in Kreenholm, the Baltijets factory, the former Narova furniture factory and on the riverboat Caroline. The Record Fair took place in both Tallinn and Narva. 

The festival closed on Sunday, 8 May with a Narva-style breakfast, a long table lunch and a concert by Estonian bluegrass band Curly Strings to celebrate Mother’s Day in the garden of the Free Creative Centre, and a collective tree planting in EV100 Park.

Curly Strings’ Mothers’ day concert. Photo: Ilja Smirnov.

The next edition of TWM is scheduled to take place on 10th – 14th May 2023. TMW 2023 passes are now on sale at the TMW webshop. Until the end of May, the Festival Pass and PRO Pass are available at Early Bird prices of 35 euros and 100 euros respectively. TMW 2023 artist applications open via TMW homepage on Monday, 16th May.

Tallinn Music Week 2022 in numbers

192 music festival performers from 28 countries
974 PRO delegates/music industry representatives
103 conference speakers
30 music showcase events
229 team members and volunteers in Tallinn
122 team members and volunteers in Ida-Viru County and Narva
3 warm-up events across Ida-Viru County in Jõhvi, Kohtla-Järve and Sillamäe
17,425 festival visits, 10,735 in Tallinn and 6,904 in Narva

TMW 2022 took place on 4th – 8th May in Tallinn and Narva.

TMW 2022 edition united the teams, partners and funders of TMW and Station Narva festivals, both founded and run by Shiftworks.

The joint festival was supported by the cities of Tallinn and Narva, the Government Office, the Ministry of Culture, the Cultural Endowment, Integration Foundation, Nordic Hotel Forum and Visit Estonia.

TMW’s international activities, the aim of which is to introduce Estonia as an attractive destination, were supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

TMW’s diversity partner was Telia Eesti, a strategic partner in the field of music Music Estonia, partners and supporters Telliskivi Creative City, Viru Center, Go Travel, Elron, Ida-Viru Tourism Cluster, British Council, Nordic Council of Ministers, Piletilevi, Tallink, Go Hotel, Narva Hotel, Inger Hotel Meresuu Hotel & Spa, Moe, Tanker, Selver, Lyre’s

Media partners: Postimees, Kanal 2, Põhjarannik, Raadio 2 and Raadio 4

TMW 2022 music programme partners were CIMA and Break Out West in cooperation with the Office of the Embassy of Canada to Estonia, in Tallinn, ESNS Exchange, Estonian Choral Association, Damn.Loud, Dark Disko, Fenno-Ugria, Club HALL, HEMI, HOTS, Keychange, Mägede Hääl, Philly Joe’s Jazz Club, PopSpot, Skaņu mežs, Station Narva, Sveta Bar, Tartu 2024 and Ö Studio, Viljandi Folk Festival, Võnge Festival, Warner Music Live, World Clinic.

Festival venues:

Conference centres: Nordic Hotel Forum, OBJEKT, Vaba Lava Narva

Music venues: Art Club Ro-Ro, D3, F-Hoone, Erinevate Tubade Klubi/Club of Different Rooms, Fotografiska Tallinn, Club HALL, Kivi Paber Käärid, Kreenholm Manufacture, Narva Gate, Narva Art Residency, Philly Joe’s Jazz Club Tallinn, Püha Rugodiv Culture House, St Catherine’s Church in Tallinn, Sveta Baar, Telliskivi Creative City Square, Telliskivi Green Hall, The Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral in Narva, Uus Laine, Vaba Lava Tallinn, Vaba Lava Narva, Von Krahl

City festival partners: BAZAR, Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center and galleries Okapi, Haus, EKA, Juhan Kuus Documentary Photography Centre, Positiiv and Temnikova & Kasela, Vivistop Telliskivi, Terminal Records & Bar, Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement, Tallinn Education Department, Narva Art Residency, Narva Museum, Record Fair

TMW homepage and DigiPRO platform: Velvet

Visual identity and design: Vello Lutter

Conference panel stream and recordings: RGB, Velvet

TMW 2022 photo galleries on Flickr.